Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Why CLIL?

If your school is planning to start a CLIL project next school year or you are trying to find reasons to convince your school staff to teach English through Content or Content through English, first of all you must answer yourself WHY CLIL?

Some days ago in a CLIL Facebook group, a teacher from Madrid suggested someone to visit the blog CLIL for Success as a way to get information on What, How and Why to do a Content and Language Integrated Learning programme. 

I had a deep look at this blog and it specially caught my interest the page about the reasons to do a CLIL project.

I like to transcript in here the reasons Willy, the author of the blog, gives anybody interested in running a project like this (hope you don't mind!)

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WHY CLIL?

1. Because Educational Systems must to be adapted to the new generations. 

OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEMS
The previous educational methods and techniques are not giving the right respond to our pupils and they are not able to see the reason to go to school. The educational systems were created and established two or three centuries ago ‘Our educational systems were conceived and designed in the intellectual culture of the Enlightenment and the economic circumstances of the Industrial Revolution...’ (Sir Ken Robinson) So if we do not use wigs, if we do not ride horses as the main mean of transport and if we do not use candles to allow us to see things; why do we have to use so old educational systems?.

SOCIETY NEEDS
A degree is not always the way to get a job, and get a job is not the main goal for our pupils. This is because year by year the number of people who got a degree has increased and it is demonstrated that you do not always need to be succeeded in academic terms, which are deductive reasoning and the knowledge of the classics, to get a good job. Apart from this there are other necessities in our society and it is demanded an integral education and not only focus on academic success. People need to feel important and well valued for what they are able to do and not for the number of degrees they have collected along their lives.


2. Because Children require a different encouragement

21ST CENTURY ENCOURAGEMENT
The way we were encouraged is different to the one our pupils demand. I am speaking about the fight that exists on pupils mind between teacher´s encouragement in the classroom and the video games encouragement. This is probably the most stimulating period of Earth´s history and pupils cannot be focused on only one simple and repetitive situation, a teacher telling them things besides a blackboard. How can we gain a battle against video games without a change?


3. Because learning is for everybody

INDIVIDUAL LEARNING
We organize our educational processes by year ranges and by what it is expected to be known in a specific age. It is easier to control a group when all people have the same level of knowledge and when someone has a different level he is considered the ugly duck. All learning processes have a beginning but not an end and especially when we talk about languages. All of them depend on the person that of course, to make learning processes meaningful has to acquire them at his own pace taking baby steps and if we have done a good job they will never stop self-learning.

LEARNING STYLES
Pupil´s progress is controlled by a teacher which at the end of the term has a mathematical operation in which the result is the mark of the subject. Each person is responsible for his acts while not of his or her learning progress. Children need to know how they are doing and what they are doing at real time. Let them be part of their progress.

COLLABORATIVE WORK
Learning progresses are evaluated through individual activities while great learning happens in groups. There is a common tendency for teachers to think that individual activities show what a person can do and it is partly wrong. We are preparing people to live in group but we do not take into consideration what they can do when they collaborate. Surprisingly, the growth of all cultures along history is based in a collaborative development.


4. Main reasons

WHAT VS HOW
Teachers are in charge of evaluating a production created by multiple repetitions instead of assessing a creative production in which the goals are to understand the values and reasons of what pupils do. There is still the idea of ‘An artist is somebody who produces things that people do not need to have’ (Andy Warhol) while we must think that if our pupils have an artist in, who is struggling to get out? Teachers are taught to ask and correct pupil’s answers while we should permit more questions from pupils, an oral interaction in which they could demand their willing and curiosities and take advantage of this, building investigators, people that do not think there is only a right answer for every question. And all this refers to our obsession of What, all academic terms that have to be taught in a year, instead of How.

LEARN THROUGH EXPERIENCES 
At the beginning of the human kind we learnt from experiences and copying from others’ experiences but since the writing invention, we were taught by text in which experiences were told. This is requiring a mental process in which pupils need to imagine the situations whilst through direct observation the process is shorter and easier remembered. Our mental processes due to the technological advances and the stimulating situation we are living, call for learning visual moments. It is easy to remember an activity that you did with your body or what you have directly seen, than the last page you studied. Learning by doing mixed with emotions are the two ingredients every learning moment should have. Let’s make every learning process an unforgettable experience.

LEARNING IS FUN 
Pupils were supposed to be well seated, in front of a blackboard and listening carefully and with visual connection to what the teacher was saying and there were few moments in which something fun happened. Our pupils are requiring more participation and affection (Active Learning), so it is in the learning guides the possibility to make education a group of fun activities full of purposes and goals, in which pupils enjoy learning through that type of experiences, learning by laughing.

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Although the blog has not been updated recently you can find some useful information about CLIL Unit Outline or School Organization. 

Hope you like it!

Comic strips made by PiƱeiro.

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